Tentacle Tuesday: Brushstrokes

« A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. » ~ Edgar Degas

… and some tentacles, of course!

This painting of a chained barbarian confronted by an octopus (here to collect his liver, no doubt?) is the work of Bob Juanillo, an artist of which little is known, other than that he was active in the late 60s and early 70s, contributed to a lot of comics fanzines, and died at 30 (source). At least we know it from 1974!

To follow, the original art for a variant cover for Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom no. 1 (February 2006). The painting is by Gabriele Dell’Otto, an Italian artist who has done work for Marvel and DC. Tentacles or enormous snake-tail, you be the judge. As for powerful necromancer (and shape-shifter) Thulsa Doom, he is the brain-child of American author Robert E. Howard.

This painting by John Totleben appeared (as far as I can tell) somewhere in Timeslip Special Vol 1 no. 1 (August 26th, 1998). « The isotope itself was eventually dumped, as garbage, into the oceans, where it began mutating the ocean life. One of the mutates was an octopus who, developing high intelligence, and through unknown means, donned a mechanical suit. The isotope itself eventually went on to mutate all life on the planet. » (source) I giggled at the idea of an octopus donning a mechanical suit ‘through unknown means’. These cephalopods get into everything!

Finally, voici an unfinished painting by Frank Frazetta, entitled Death Dealer VII (the first Death Dealer was painted in 1973). Health issues (blurry vision, and a series of strokes) prevented Frazetta from finishing it, though his preliminary sketch was published in Rough Work (Spectrum Fantastic Art, 2007).

~ ds

Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 27

« No — I’m not alive! But we’ll have time to talk about that later! » — the accident-prone stranger

On the magazine front, Scholastic hit its peak in the mid-to-late 1970s with Dynamite (1974-92) Bananas (1975-84) and sundry periodicals aimed at various reading levels. Always comics-friendly, they struck a fruitful alliance with the fledgling Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, thus granting precious early exposure to some of the institution’s promising early alumni, such as Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch and John Totleben.

This is Weird Worlds no. 4 (1980, Scholastic). Cover by Joe Kubert. By ‘full-length’, they meant ‘four pages long’. Oh well.

Professorial Joe Kubert leads his students into a moody collaboration with the guiding lights of Dynamite, namely the husband-and-wife team of Jane Stine and ‘Jovial’ Bob Stine (of later R.L. Stine fame and fortune).

Could it be?

Well, Laurel could have fared far worse: her ‘Master’ is squarely in the then-fashionable Frank Langella / George Hamilton leading man mould. There was another alternative, of course:

You’ll enjoy Mr. Barlow. And he’ll enjoy you.

Weird Worlds didn’t set this world afire, enduring but eight issues. Still, Scholastic would return to mine the teenage affinity for all things spooky and on that occasion (and further ones) strike gold and raise goosebumps.


Tentacle Tuesday: Adventure and Levity

There’s only two Tentacle Tuesdays left in the year after today. Well, let’s not bashfully bury our tentacles in snow and get on with it.

I don’t think Tove Marika Jansson, Swedish novelist, painter, illustrator and of course comic strip artist, needs much in the way of introduction. Merely one word is necessary, and that word (more of an exclamation, really) is “Moomin!” But did you know Snork-Maiden and Moomin-Troll once had to grapple with an octopus?

Montréal’s Drawn and Quarterly is currently « reworking classic Moomin stories in full colour, with a kid-proof but kid-friendly size, price, and format » (to quote their website) for their Enfant collection. « Enfant » means « child », but I think any adult with a sense of humour and just a pinch of childlike innocence will enjoy these stories.

This page is from « Moomin and the Comet » (although I prefer to call it « Muumipeikko ja pyrstötähti »… if I could only pronounce it!) by Tove Jansson and and Lars Jansson, her brother and writer and occasional illustrator of the Moomin comic strip. Published in July 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly, originally published on April 9th, 1958 in London’s The Evening News.

Incidentally, isn’t this photograph of Tove Jansson lovely?


So far, there’s something like 12 books published, and D&Q are releasing one or two additions to the collection every year. It’s the only thing I consistently buy from them (well, pretty much the only thing they publish that interests me). Highly recommended if you have any children in your life… and even more if you don’t!


The Bojeffries Saga (written by Alan Moore and drawn by Steve Parkhouse) concerns itself with a loosely-tied group of relatives all of whom are supernatural and/or insane and some of whom have vaguely Slavic names, for added hilarity. The family consists of the two uncles Zlüdotny (a werewolf and a vampire); a nuclear baby (whatever that means); the close-knit trio of father, daughter and son, respectively Jobremus, Ginda, and Reth Bojeffries; and last but not least, grandpa Podlasp, whose tentacles you can admire below. Not, it’s not “Podslap”, although he does slap people on occasion.

The first Bojeffries tale, « The Rentman Cometh », appeared in black and white in British Quality Communications anthology Warrior, to be more precise Warrior no. 12, August 1983. Here you have it in glorious (and appropriately stomach-churning) colour thanks to a reformatted & coloured (by Kenneth Smith) reprint in Flesh & Bones no. 2, 1986 (Fantagraphics).

The main… err, hero… of this tale is Trevor Inchmale, a fastidious pain-in-the-ass bureaucrat, who, whilst day-dreaming of glory, accidentally discovers the existence of a  tenant who owes the council £32,000 in rent arrears. Guess who the tenant is? And guess what happens to Inchmale? (Hint: a flower pot is involved.)

The back cover of Flesh & Bones no. 2, 1986 (Fantagraphics). Getting to spend a little time with Dalgoda (Jan Strnad and Dennis Fujitake) and then visiting with the Bojeffries? Yes, please!

I have The Bojeffries Saga collection issued in 2014 by Topshelf Productions in collaboration with Knockabout Comics. Mr. Parkhouse calls it « the complete and final edition », so who am I to argue with that? He also says, in his introduction, that « throughout its entire run the Bojeffries has been sheer, unmitigated fun. It’s been tough, it’s been demanding – but the end result has always made me laugh. »


Let’s end on a properly horrible (or at least horripilating) note.

This could be part of a pretty convincing anti-smoking campaign. Gasp!, 1994; cover by John Totleben (a recycled painting of his from 1992, actually).

In 1994, Quebecor Printing sponsored Gasp!, a sampler of some independent titles (and not necessarily anything to do with horror, despite what the cover suggests). Its contents are a bit of a hodge-podge, with some highlights and some clunkers. You can get more information about the authors and stories within here.

A group of octopuses, by the way, is called “consortium”, although “octoposse” would perhaps make more sense.

Signing off,

~ ds